FAIRFIELD — The Norwalk girls basketball team knows it is considered a favorite in the FCIAC this season, and with that status comes a target on its back.

Ludlowe came out fired up, pressing and running and leading Norwalk late in the second quarter.

That was when the Bears found their spark, controlling the second half with defense and transition baskets en route to a 58-35 win on opening night in Fairfield.

Ludlowe led 21-17 with under two minutes to play in the first half but from there it was all Bears as they closed the game on a 41-14 run.

“There’s definitely a lot of pressure on us this year with us being ranked No. 2 in the FCIAC,” Norwalk guard Ashley Wilson said. “As a team, we just try to ignore it because at the end of the day, anyone can win a game. This is the FCIAC and we know any team can beat anyone else any night.”

Wilson, a preseason Top 25 player to watch on GametimeCT, paced Norwalk with 14 points including four 3-pointers.

Jakora Murray added 13 for the Bears while Serenity Mayhew put in 11.

For Ludlowe, Emma Torello scored 11 with Bridget Paulmann adding 10.

Ludlowe has a young nucleus and hopes of competing for a league playoff spot but could not keep pace with Norwalk in the second half.

Still, Ludlowe coach Sara Kinsley saw plenty of positives from her team, including their ability to create trouble with their press and scoring in transition, which they did very well in the first quarter.

“I think our fast break will be a key point in our success this year,” Kinsley said. “When we’re moving the ball up the court early before teams can set up in their defense, that gives us an advantage. Norwalk is a great team. Our goal was to come out strong and we did that.”

Norwalk outscored the Falcons 17-7 in the third and fourth quarters, pulling away for the easy finish.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Ashley Wilson, Norwalk. Wilson hit the first two 3-pointers of the game and two more in the second half. She distributed the ball well throughout as one of many qualified ball handlers on the Bears.

“It’s so important for us having a bunch of girls who can handle the ball. We use speed to our advantage,” Wilson said. “Everyone can bring up the ball if they wanted to and it’s very flexible.”

QUOTABLE

“All credit to Ludlowe, they’re an intense team and they came out playing an intense style of basketball. Every year they play us tough and we knew they’d come out and be intense,” Norwalk coach Ricky Fuller said. “In the end, we have good numbers and they got a little tired and we took over the game a little bit. Basketball used to be about the post, big men. But now, the more guards you have, the better. The more girls that can handle the ball, it makes you hard to guard as a team.”

Sericson@stamfordadvocate.com; @EricsonSports

NORWALK 58, LUDLOWE 35

NORWALK 11 13 17 17—58

LUDLOWE 15 6 7 7—35

Norwalk (1-0) Carsyn Langhorn 1 1-2 4; Ashley Wilson 4 2-2 14; Sanaa Boyd 1 2-4 4; Jakora Murray 3 7-10 13; Naeva Rene 1 0-0 2; Serenity Mayhew 5 1-3 11; Anaijah Morgan 1 0-0 2; Belinda Hunt 3 0-0 6; Lamia Ashley 1 0-0 2; Camilla Martinez 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 13-21 58

Ludlowe (0-1) Sophie Lemley 0 0-0 0; Juliet Bucher 2 0-0 5; Emma Torello 4 1-4 11; Anna Paulmann 1 1-3 3; Bridget Paulmann 3 3-4 10; Paige O’Connell 1 1-2 3; Laura Herron 1 0-0 3; Trish Carey 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 6-13 35

3-point field goals: N—Wilson 4, Langhorn; L—Torello 2, Bucher, Herron

Fouled out: None